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Well, it’s a big birthday for the Bandit. The kite which blew minds on its first release has now managed 10 years of continued innovation… It is interesting to look back at how it has evolved from the Bandit V1 as it’s a microcosm of the changes that we have seen across a lot of kites over the last decade and sums up their philosophy of ‘continuous improvements’.
For this 10th edition the main difference you are likely to notice is the wingtips – these are notably squarer. In terms of F-ONE’s aim with the Bandit, the focus has been on ‘traction and speed’ and on developing a kite that enables you to get up to speed easily but then maintain the power without having to work too hard… In the air and after your first few runs on the Bandit the first thing we appreciated was the effect of the new tips. For us these gave the Bandit a more ‘pivotal' feel when turning (we had the 10m on test) – more like you would expect from a surf kite. Then we found that, for freestyle, it moved a bit slower through the air making freestyle and jumping a little more predictable – we all agree if a kite is too fast we are more tentative about trying new tricks and the Bandit has slowed itself down a notch or two.
For heading for the sky, the Bandit has always been a good kite for boosting and this continues to impress – the lift is pretty mighty but controllable, and the hang time is superb. Through loops the Bandit with smooth with minimum flutter and upwind the Bandit pulls you along with minimum fuss. The Bandit’s also equally at home with a surfboard, where F-ONE seem to have got the perfect balance point on the bar where you can just sheet out, dump the power and ride the wave. The boxier tips also deliver a more pivotal feel to the Bandit and we think that wave riders will be particularly impressed with this latest incarnation.
In a sentence: We have now had a whole 10 years of Bandits, and it is great to see that the latest version hasn’t let the side down – it’s a refined all round machine and if F-ONE continue in this vein we can probably expect another 10 years of Bandits.